When I first heard about the theme park called “Gyoza Stadium” I immediately thought of the Iron Chef TV show and “Kitchen Stadium”. What is with the Japanese and stadiums? Gyoza Stadium is nothing like a stadium. It’s inside an indoor theme park at a shopping mall. It’s like a very focused food court. Imagine a series of little mini restaurants each with seating for maybe 4 people at one time, each serving the Japanese dumpling, gyoza.
Gyoza are kind of like potstickers, but with a much thinner noodle wrappers. Being able to read the signs would have made choosing my gyoza a whole lot easier but I had to stick with my intuition and signs with pictures. I took it that each gyoza was created by a famous chef or restaurant. At about $3-5 for a mini plate of around 4 gyoza, I was happy to try quite a few booths. Some were definitely better than others.
The first batch of gyoza were skinny, bland, possibly vegetarian and not very good. The second batch had a topping of something like grated radish and chopped scallions. This was Lee’s favorite.
The next was more Chinese style; the gyoza had good ginger flavor to them, but was served in the vicinity of a ridiculously noisy haunted house style park ride. After that we tried a restaurant that seemed to have garnered lots of attention from the press, there were many clippings plastered on their sign. We had no idea that we had ordered gyoza with cheese sauce and chunks of smoked gouda. In a word, disgusting!
To obliterate the memory of cheese sauced horridly bitter tasting gyoza we stopped off at a final place that had shrimp and pork gyoza. These were plump, crisp and delicious but one bite and the juice squirted everywhere like a geyser. It was good but I never felt more like the goofy foreigner, a goofy foreigner at an even goofier theme park. I must have fit right in.